My Fitness Journey: How #TwitterGetsFitter Started
“How on earth did you put on so much weight? Aren’t you a dancer?”
“I thought dancers were supposed to be fit.”
“And they say belly dancing makes you lose weight lol.”
These are just a few of the many hurtful (some intentionally so, others not so much) comments that were directed at me over the past couple of years. As someone who has always struggled with weight issues and body image, I can tell you that they were all equally painful, intentional or not.
To give you a little background, I gained a tremendous amount of weight — 15 kilos — over the past couple of years, owing to health issues (which I am in the process of having remedied). Losing the weight has been an uphill battle, to say the least. Weight gain that’s associated with illness is also generally a lot more stubborn than the sort gained from overeating — hormones and stuff get involved, and it’s really tricky to battle those! And that, in itself, destroys the will to even try to get fitter. After all, if it takes 3 months of intense exercise and diet control to lose a glorious 400 grams, why bother, right?
And that’s what I did for a very long time. Not bother. But thankfully, I have a family (specifically, a husband) that won’t let me simply feel sorry for myself, and instead pushed me to get back on track. And thus began my fitness journey.
I started cutting out all the junk food that I would hug close as I watched TV on the couch, and replaced it (not entirely, but for the most part) with fruit, nuts, and other considerably healthier options. I would head out for a walk every evening, getting a solid dose of fresh air and activity for about an hour. I would Google various home workouts and hop about each day, trying exercises I didn’t know existed.
J (the husband — you might meet him another time) was often greeted by a sweaty, out-of-breath mess when he got home each evening. And while he wouldn’t hug me until I had showered (I really don’t blame him, I wouldn’t have hugged me either!), he was always cheering me on, telling me how proud he was that I was doing something to fix my fitness.
The problem, however, was keeping myself motivated. It’s a Herculean task to have to push yourself to workout, and yes, you’re bound to fail every now and again. I needed a buddy — someone who would make sure I stuck to my workouts, and didn’t fall off the wagon too easily.
The premise is simple — we keep each other motivated, and accountable. We were on this fitness journey together, and we were going to do everything we could to make sure nobody hopped off the bus!
And you know what? It works!
Not only has TwitterGetsFitter changed my life, and the lives of 70+ other enthu cutlets, it has grown into a tribe. The WhatsApp group and email lists are forever buzzing with activity! People share their workout updates, talk about what they’re eating, and even share ideas for ‘reward meals’. And most importantly, we shared insecurities. We were all united in our quest for fitness, some of us by body image issues — and it didn’t matter. Here was a place with no judgment, no negativity, no bullying.
The movement saw far more traction and interest than I had ever imagined. What’s more, they didn’t want it to stop! While the initial plan was for everyone to get fit in time for New Year’s Eve, about 90% of the group requested that the program continue into 2017. And so it has! And I’m thrilled to report that enthusiasm levels haven’t waned. 🙂